Charleston Jazz Festival Opens Soon

On January 20, the Charleston Jazz Festival will begin, much to the delight of Lowcountry jazz enthusiasts. Running through January 22, this will be the third annual year for the festival and this year it boasts local groups, grammy-award wining artists, and of course the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. Here’s the Charleston Jazz Festival’s promotional video to give you a taste!

For more information and a comprehensive schedule of events, click here.

Calling all visual artists!

Art Pop Logo Final Outlines TM 10-5-16 (2)The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce a partnership with ArtPop Street Gallery to launch an outdoor advertising initiative that will promote five visual artists in the area on billboards across the tri-county.

Thanks to billboard space generously given by Adams Outdoor Advertising, five select artists will have an image of their work on a billboard for a year.

The contest will open for submissions on Jan. 12 and is open to any visual artist in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester County. For submission guidelines, visit The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2017. Four winners will be chosen by a panel of art experts. The fifth selection will be a People’s Choice Award, chosen by online vote at

Wendy Hickey, founder of ArtPop, launched the initiative in 2014 in Charlotte, N.C. Charleston will be the 13th ArtPop.

“Adams has incredible billboard locations that cannot be missed. The five local Charleston area artists who are chosen for the program will get such tremendous exposure to an ever changing audience. With the tourism in the market an artist simply never knows who is going to see their art on a billboard, fall in love and want to commission them! Thank you to our partners at Charleston Regional Alliance for the arts and Adams Outdoor Advertising for making this possible!  #enjoyyourcommute”

Mike Gibbons, Executive Director for the Arts Alliance, said he is thrilled to be able to team with ArtPop and Adams Outdoor Advertising to feature area visual artists.

“ArtPop has created a fantastic opportunity for artists in so many locations, and it’s really exciting to be able to bring that to the tri-county area,” he said.

UPDATE: Reprieve for strings program

UPDATE: It appears the strings program we wrote about below may have had a stay of execution. Read all about it here in the Post and Courier.

The school district released this statement:

“We thank the community for the outpouring of interest and support we have received regarding the ‘elementary strings’ programs in our schools. In response to a communication that many parents received yesterday (January 3, 2017) related to discontinuing the programs in some of our elementary schools. We want you to know that this communication was released prematurely, before the matter had been discussed with senior district staff, the superintendent, and the Board of Trustees. CCSD is fully committed to continuing and even expanding the strings program and is resolutely determined to locate highly capable strings instructors for our students.”

While it may not be a permanent fix, at least it buys the program some time. And clearly, the voices of the arts supporters in the community were heard, loud and clear.


Our previous post regarding the program:

Once again, in the face of looming budget shortfalls, the arts are on the chopping block.

This time, it’s the elementary strings programs, which teaches violins and violas to children in Charleston County. The eliminations begin in just weeks, starting with several schools in West Ashley and James Island, and will shutter all by the end of the school year.

According to the Post and Courier, “The district hopes to use its limited resources to bolster the middle and high school strings programs, which meet during regular periods for class credit.”

While bolstering the middle and high school programs sounds nice, if there is no elementary feeder program, it certainly seems those will dry up in a few years.

The $18 million shortfall is very real budget crisis. And certainly there are other areas taking a hit beyond the arts. More than 100 teacher positions and and 80 office positions have been eliminated. But any time you see the arts cut, it begs the questions: Was this necessary? Or are the arts viewed as expendable, a luxury?

They are neither. Those children learning the strings are having a valuable building block of the complete student taken away. We hope the school district will reconsider this move, and hope you will consider attending a school board committee meeting on Monday and a full meeting on Jan. 23.

Because arts matter.


Moe’s mural sent packing

The mural on the side of the Moe's on Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mount Pleasant shows John Lennon, Al Capone, and Marilyn Monroe. The Town of Mount Pleasant Board of Zoning Appeals has made its decision – they do not want to #savemoesmural. In fact, they want it gone.

We told you a while back about the effort to save the mural. But, the town voted 4-3 Monday night that the mural must go.

Read more about the mural from the Post and Courier, including a series of comments sent to BZA from residents in support of the mural.


Noms open for City Paper’s Best

2017_boc_socialmediatag-nominateus_smallThe Charleston City Paper wants your noms, noms, noms.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2017 Best Of Awards, and we want to remind you to get online and share all of your opinions on restaurants, shopping and the like. But we REALLY want to make sure you let ’em know who you think should be included for Culture, Arts and Entertainment. From art gallery to theater company to male and female vocalists, the gamut of the arts world is spanned in this year’s categories. Three new categories have also been added for 2017: Best Place to See Local Music, Best Local Podcast and Best Recording Studio.

Nominations close Friday, Jan. 1, 2017 just a tick before midnight. Those who nominate in more than 35 categories will be entered in a drawing to win tickets to the #BOC16 party. As for the actual voting for the winner, the previous winner and the top four vote getters from nominees will move on to final voting, which be held from Feb. 1-24, 2017.

So get out there and vote for the best. And, should you need a little incentive, take a few moments and watch the stirring Joe Esposito single that inspired a generation of young Danny Larusso’s to be The Best:


Putting out the call to #savemoesmural

The mural on the side of the Moe's on Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mount Pleasant shows John Lennon, Al Capone, and Marilyn Monroe. A Mount Pleasant Town Council member is calling on the community to help save a mural on the side of Moe’s restaurant on Houston Northcutt Boulevard.

The mural, featuring Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Al Capone, was deemed to have been in violation of the town’s signage allowance. Although the mural is simply that – a painting, with no words or anything related to the Mexican restaurant – it was still considered signage.

Town Planning Director Christiane Farrell told the Post and Courier, “We do not prohibit murals, but they are counted towards the allotted building signage allowed.”

In a recent letter to the editor to the Moultrie News, Council Member Mark Smith called on residents to #savemoesmural and for the Board of Zoning Appeals “to work with small business owners, not against them.”

Moe’s has filed an appeal, which will be heard by the BZA on Dec. 19.

What say you, arts lover? Will you reach out to #savemoesmural? Or is this a case of just needing to follow the rules?

Friday Fiver with Jordan Amaker

Jordan Amaker is kind of a go-to girl. Need advice on how to shop more locally-conscious? Call Jordan. Want to join the fight to make Charleston bike-friendly13416984_1016142045122318_7848032368986182016_o (1)? Shoot her an email. Want to get in touch with Charleston’s first-ever Poet Laureate? Well, she’s got a hook-up there too (husband Marcus Amaker). And as Director of Marketing and Communications at Lowcountry Local First, she’s likely who you’ll get in touch with if you ever need the outstanding resources that LLF provides.

Lowcountry Local First is accepting applications (through the end of the day!) for their “Creative-in-Residence” program, where two winners will receive 6 months of desk space at Local Works and matched mentorship! The application is super easy and can be done in 30 minutes or less, and if accepted, you’ll have the added bonus of working alongside Jordan. Application here :

We sat down with Jordan for our Friday Fiver.

1. Having worked for Lowcountry Local First for more than a year now, have you discovered any surprising items we can buy locally? 

I’m surprised almost daily. On the food side, I’m most surprised that loofa (yes, what you use to exfoliate with in the shower) and sugar cane grow here. On the product side, I love learning about the rock star manufacturers we have in our backyard – from candles and handmade leather wallets made along Meeting St (Rewined Candles and J.Stark) to high-end light fixtures made on the Navy Yard (Urban Electric Co) – these products and so many more garner global attention but support our local economy.

2. You’re earning a reputation as a huge advocate for bicyclists in Charleston. Why is it so important for Charleston to create safe bike lanes and protect biker’s rights?

Where do I begin, and how much space will this get on the website? … Creating safe, equitable access on our streets means a healthier environment, fewer deaths and injuries due to collisions, less congestion, improved livability (aka easier to lure in those millennials every tech company is chasing), and it means all of our local businesses have an easier time attracting and retaining employees. Best of all, biking and walking is simply fun and good for the spirit. Charleston is getting left in the dust in this area due to stubborn leadership at the local and state levels and it poses a real concern for the coming years and the growth we face as a community.

3. What’s the best part about Local Works communal work space?

One word: community. The top reason our coworkers choose Local Works, and stay with Local Works, is the sense of community and connectivity it brings. People are able to get out of their homes, out of the noisy coffee shops – and into an inspiring place with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners who, like them, are itching to share stories, gather advice and work together.

4. Although Lowcountry Local First is not an arts organization, we know that you’re a lover of the arts in Charleston. Do you have a favorite local artist? 

We love supporting out local arts community. I’ve been able to meet and learn about so many talented creatives here through Local Works and our Buy Local campaigns. We just had our Buy Local Block Party and I fell in love with Alison Brynn Ross’ designs. We also rotate local artists’ work on our walls in Local Works, and we currently have Julia Deckman’s paintings of local business storefronts on display, which are colorful and inviting. I’ve personally been a fan of seeing our music scene mature and expand to include new hip-hop artists, jazz musicians and poets – so many wonderful ways to spend your time, dollars and energy across the Lowcountry!

5. Thanksgiving is coming up! Do you have any suggestions for where we can buy fresh produce and what will you be in charge of cooking? 

Fall CSAs with our local farmers are in full swing – and many of our local markets continue through December if not year-round. Get out and get to know who has what in their fields right now! We have a map online that you can search by product, farm or market – and use the key to the left. I am no chef, but look forward to my mom’s sweet potato casserole the most. (She puts marsh-mellows on top before roasting.)

Intern Alana’s Top 5 Art Spots!

Hi I’m Alana! I’m a junior I’m an Arts Management & Art History major at the College of Charleston. I came all the way down from Connecticut to study the arts in this beautiful city!

We took Alana to Waffle House for her FIRST ever All-Star breakfast!

It’s been so great interning for the Alliance. I’ve learned so much about the organization and can’t wait to further my knowledge in the arts in these upcoming months. I hope to use this knowledge to help me fulfill my dream of working at Sotheby’s one day.
Top 5 Art Spots!
  1.     The Art Walk– First Friday of every month I love walking from gallery to gallery observing all the beautiful art @Charleston Gallery Association
  2.     Robert Lange Studios– LOVE all the art there. It’s always so interesting! @Robert Lange Studios
  3.     The Gaillard– One of my favorite places to be in.  It feels like a palace when I’m in there. The theatre as well is so magnificent and great to watch shows. @Gaillard Center
  4.     Music Farm– Always going there for great shows! My top favorite shows are definitely Big Gigantic and Beats Antique @Music Farm
  5.     86 Market Arts Gallery– they sell local artwork as well as beautiful minerals and fossils. It’s such a calming place to be in. @86 Market Arts Gallery

Friday Fiver: Kerri Forrest

KLF Ashepoo Mar 2015Kerri Forrest is one of the best friends the arts community could ask for. She personally supports and consumes a variety of local arts, but also helms an organization that is one of the biggest arts supporters in the Lowcountry. Forrest has served as the Director of the Lowcountry Program for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation since February 2015. Her latest initiative is an arts survey in conjunction with a national nonprofit to assess arts space needs for the area. She is encouraging all artists and arts organizations to make their voices heard by taking part in the survey. It takes less than 15 minutes, and the input will be incredibly important for the arts community moving forward. Click here to take the survey.

We sat down with Kerri for today’s Friday Fiver.

  1. The Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality and regional collections in the Lowcountry and Chicago. How did those two locations become linked for the Foundation? The Foundation was founded in 1952 by Gaylord Donnelley, then chairman of the RR Donnelley Company and his wife Dorothy Donnelley. The family lived in both Chicago and the ACE Basin. Their love of the arts, the outdoors, and books was the impetus for the three program areas we fund in the two regions.
  2. What was on your radio on the way into work this morning? A podcast: Tritonia by two EDM DJ’s out of Texas. Best way to get the adrenaline going on a hump day.
  3. You have been working with Artspace Project, a national nonprofit, to conduct a survey of artists and arts groups on space needs. What are you hoping to learn from these surveys? The survey will tell us 3 critical pieces of information: where artists / arts organizations and creative businesses want to be located, what type of space they need (residential, commercial, studio, rehearsal) and what they can afford to pay for that space.  That information will not just tell the Foundation and our core group of partners from across the region whether a live/work space would potentially be successful (the type of project Artspace does around the country) but would provide local city planners, developers and others with hard numbers on what could be offered to artists. It will help everyone make more informed decisions.
  4. You’ve heard from quite a few different artists and disciplines with the survey. However, are there additional groups, areas or disciplines you would really like to encourage to take the survey? We have 3 weeks left to get responses from a cross section of our arts community, both individual artists and arts organizations/creative businesses. To date, we have not received responses from artists in the theater, dance, music or literary disciplines. Also, we’ve received fewer responses from artists currently living in North Charleston and few responses from artists and organizations of color. It’s important that we hear from all of these groups or important information about the arts community will be left out.
  5. If you could wave a magic wand over Charleston and have one thing happen immediately, what would it be? A metro transit system would magically appear… but that’s another conversation…


Interested in being featured in a Friday Fiver? E-mail


Looking for opportunities to spice up your Halloween weekend with some spooky events? We got you covered! Thursday night at 6 p.m. come by The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art for a gallery walk-through of Sara Angelucci’s exhibition, Aviary. Friday night, don’t miss out on your chance to see Dracula: King of Vampires at the Dock Street Theater! Raising the stakes on the classic tale of the blood-thirsty Prince of Darkness, this show is bound to have you shaking in your boots. Not scared yet? Check out Asylum Halloween at Redux Contemporary Art Center on Saturday night, 7-11pm. If you make it out alive, be sure to swing by Republic Garden & Lounge where your Asylum ticket will get you to the front of the line without paying a cover charge. After a good night’s sleep make your way over to the Coastal Carolina Fair on Sunday anytime between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. End your weekend with a BANG at Nightmare on Society Street, hosted on October 31st by Threshold Repertory Theatre and Muse restaurant, featuring a haunted house, followed by a party at MUSE Restaurant with heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, DJ silent auction and live auction.  No reason to stay locked inside your coffin this weekend, get out there and spook things up!

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